|"So my guys stole the congregation and its endowment,|
and no one said a word...except that blogger I never
met but invited to speak at St. Marcus."
Basic Facts Here - About the Theft of St. John's in Milwaukee via the Jeske Mob
When I was quietly left out of the ministry after two years, I had just been through two of the toughest years of my life. I was young, and I figured I had made a lot of mistakes. I was asked to sit out a year, and, for my own health, I did. That I was never spoken to again is another story. After two years or service, I had hardly proven myself.
But there are many, many others out there with proven track records and 25 or 30 years of service, who have also been summarily dismissed from the WELS consciousness. These people labored long and faithfully, often with little encouragement and less compensation, and received not the rewards to which the laborer is entitled. What they did receive was nothing, absolutely nothing, no explanations, not compensations, no thanks for service rendered, only a cold shoulder.
For 27 years now, I have watched while others much more approved for ministry and arguably much more talented and faithful than I have receive ghastly treatment with no so much as a raised eyebrow. And yet, we now wonder why we can't seem to find enough qualified candidates to be pastors in the WELS.
In 1996, St. John's Congregation, Vliet Street, Milwaukee, one of the very earliest and most historically significant churches of the WELS, voted to leave the WELS. Kevin Hastings, then ten years into his ministry, decided to stay with the church and soldier on, often taking half his meager salary and even more often putting his own hands to do the repair work necessary to keep the doors open for worship. Kevin, unfortunately, was sent to a doomed congregation of aging members who could not attract younger members. Because of unfortunately liberal politics that surrounded St. John's with housing projects that served to surround the church with transients of a decidedly Southern Baptist bent, all efforts to grow St. John's from the community were fruitless.
I'm not here to tell you that St. John's deserved the WELS to step in and save it in some way. I do think that the fact of its leaving the WELS received not even a mention speaks to how the WELS is ready to forsake all things old in search of the new. Perhaps this explains why the WELS loses people out the back door faster than they can get them in through the front door.
What I am decided needs to be addressed, however, is how Kevin Hastings, faithful servant of God, deserved to be curtly dismissed of his duties via letter, deprived of his personal effects, and how certain WELS pastors could have been complicit in this matter. I would especially like to know how these pastors were involved when they don't even reside, in some cases, within 400 miles of Milwaukee. And I finally would like to know why WELS pastors and other members have been applauding a former WELS pastor, turn ELCA pastor, taking over the church which is now lead by openly gay men.
There is certainly a time to say nothing to besmirch the character of certain people which would break the eighth commandment. But, in this case, the character of the person with no fault, Kevin, had been besmirched, while those openly living in sin have been applauded.
There is a growing undercurrent of mistrust and disgust with things happening in the WELS and being swept under the table. We had better start addressing these wrongs, making confessions where applicable, and making serious attempts at rectifying them, because the volcano of unspoken unrest is about to explode. The time to be silent on such things is no more.
|The altar at Historic St. John, 8th and Vliet, Milwaukee.|
GJ - I knew this was coming, about six months in advance, when Pastor Kevin Hastings told me this - His friend, one of the WELS pastor, told him to have an exit strategy. I advised him that WELS was going to steal the congregation. He should get an attorney pronto.
Hastings did not act until after the congregation was stolen and the two men had him locked out, with their hands on the endowment, one in the parsonage, his personal belongings stolen for the time being. Got a problem with this? Talk to our law firm.
The episode reminded me of the Menendez brothers, who shotgunned their parents to death and used the estate cash to pay for their criminal defense.
One WELS laymen wrote me lately that my blogging about this shameful episode is the only record of anything happening.
The account above is another perspective, from someone I do not know and with whom I have had no contact.
Synod President Mark Schroeder did nothing and said nothing, as far as anyone can tell.
Mark Jeske has organized many Thrivent events, starring Mark Jeske, sharing the limelight with ELCA pastors. He is also on the board of Thrivent, so he has no qualms about financing abortion on demand through Planned Parenthood grants, no compunction about ELCA's pansexual views on ordination.
No one in the Synodical Conference should be shocked, because this is exactly how CFW Walther got his start in the papacy. Instead of meeting with Bishop Stephan about the man's adultery and syphilis, Walther organized a mob of his supporters only, came down to Perryville, threatened Stephan's life, robbed him of his gold, land, and books, and kidnapped him at gunpoint, forcing him over to Illinois. The Perryville-St. Louis mob profited greatly from these criminal acts, covered them up, and wrote themselves up as heroes.
|Following In His Steps - not Jesus, but the Great Walther.|